Jan 17, 2023 - Food and Drink

Scoop: Charlotte neighborhood seafood spot expands to the airport

Photo courtesy of High Tide Hospitality

The Waterman Fish Bar is opening a location at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Driving the news: Charlotte’s neighborhood seafood spot will open a full-service restaurant in the airport’s Terminal C in late 2023 or early 2024. It’ll replace Phillips Famous Seafood.

  • The new Waterman has been in the works for about two years, co-owner Paul Manley exclusively told Axios on Tuesday.
  • “[The airport] is the doorway to our city and [The Waterman] is a brand and I’m proud of,” Manley says. “It’s a great opportunity to to build exposure for a local brand.”

Details: Expect a blend of their South End and Lake Norman locations, with boat drinks, a full beverage program and a raw bar program.

  • The menu will be scaled-down, but it will still include what Manley calls their “big players” like the lobster roll, blackened shrimp platter and, of course, oysters.
  • It’ll have a hot chicken sandwich as well.

Why it matters: Airport restaurants give travelers an impression of what the city has to offer from a culinary perspective.

  • The Waterman is one of six new spots opening at the airport, Bob Boorom, VP of operations for HMSHost, tells Axios. HSMHost operates many of the airport’s dining options. Midwood Smokehouse is another local spot on that list.
  • HSMHost declined to provide specifics about The Waterman’s new restaurant, adding “a number of steps must take place to proceed.”

Context: The Waterman opened its South End location in 2019 and a Lake Norman location in 2022.

What’s next: Manley has six of their restaurants within 20 minutes of his home in Uptown. While he’s a fan of a short commute, he says the door is always open for further expansion.

oysters waterman
Photo courtesy of The Waterman
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